History Will Prove Us Right

History Will Prove Us Right

Inside the Warren Commission Report on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781468309171
  • 416 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was murdered in front of hundreds of onlookers. Everything was over in mere seconds, but the events of that day have been the subject of heated debate for five decades. The presidential commission tasked with finding the truth, headed by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren, published its findings the following year–Oswald had acted alone–but the report did little to quell conspiracy theorists. Many seized on what they saw as inconsistencies in the report and branded the whole investigation an elaborate cover-up. Warren himself calmly dismissed the criticism, assuring his fellow commission members that “history will prove that we are right.”

Now, in this eye-opening new account of the Commission and its findings, Howard P. Willens sets out to prove that Warren’s advice was prescient. Willens, one of the few living staff members of the Warren Commission, supervised the investigation from the very beginning and has waited until now to silence the critics and well-intentioned armchair detectives.  Drawn from Willens’ own journals and extensive notes on the investigation–which have never before been published–History Will Prove Us Right tells the true and complete story, perhaps for the first time, of every aspect of the investigation into one of the century’s most harrowing events from a uniquely first-person perspective.


“Willens, one of the commission’s few living staff members, gives a behind-the-scenes take on the investigation, its personalities and methodology. One by one he discards alternatives to the lone gunman theory…Willens admits mistakes in the investigation, but says these did not affect the veracity of its ultimate conclusion. He defends chief justice Earl Warren’s prediction that “history will prove that we are right”. For sceptics this is the greatest conspiracy theory of all, a brazen lie to whitewash the crime and aftermath.” —The Guardian

“Willens makes a strong case that he and the other lawyers worked hard to do the best job they could, despite the lack of full cooperation from the FBI and CIA, each of whom had reason to withhold evidence. Willens stands by the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter and there was no credible evidence of a conspiracy.” —Publishers Weekly

“The commission got it right — Oswald was the sole assassin —and that conclusion hold up after 50 years of scrutiny.” —The Washington Post

“Willens’s account deserves close and careful scrutiny by anyone interested in the Kennedy assassination.”—Library Journal

“This fascinating book takes us through the commission’s lengthy investigation, detailing how the group assembled the evidence, examined various theories of the crime, and slowly whittled away the speculation to arrive at what they believed to be the truth. Many will still disagree with the Warren Commission’s conclusion, but this book serves a valuable function by laying out how it did its work.” —Booklist

“With his precise and very discerning pen, Howard P. Willens has written with unimpeachable authority what actually happened, making his book an historically important one. I can’t imagine any future writer on the Warren Commission doing so without having History Will Prove Us Right at their side. Highly recommended.” —Vincent Bugliosi, bestselling author of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Helter Skelter

“A magisterial assessment of how the Warren Commission’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy stands up after the passage of fifty years. A superbly written account by someone who knows precisely what needs to be said and how to say it.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Of all the new books inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, the most valuable contribution to the historical record may well be Howard P. Willens’s meticulous and exhaustive narrative of the inner workings of the Warren Commission and the vast evidentiary support for its much-maligned conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald in all probability acted alone. Willens reviews and refutes the still-swirling conspiracy theories while painting a compelling portrait of the truth-seeking zeal of the seven-member commission’s talented, twenty-three-person staff and of its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren. The book’s contents justify its title, derived from a 1965 prediction by Earl Warren: History Will Prove Us Right.” —Stuart Taylor, Jr., Contributing Editor for the National Journal and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution